After a three-year, pandemic-driven hiatus, and for the first time in its 35-year history of honoring great Americans by hosting Annual Awards Dinners on the East Coast (see pp. 38-40 of our 2021 Annual Report), the Atlantic Legal Foundation held a successful Awards Dinner at the elegant Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles on September 28, 2022.
This year ALF had the dual privilege of honoring Michael D. Rich, Esq., the recently retired President Emeritus of the RAND Corporation, and of presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Thomas Sowell of international renown.
Mr. Rich was recognized for his decades-long initiative and focus on “Truth Decay” in his daily work at RAND, as most notably reflected in his 2018 book bearing that title and exploring “the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life.” As expressed at the Awards Dinner by ALF Chairman & President Hayward D. (Dan) Fisk during his welcoming remarks, Mr. Rich’s emphasis on truth decay resonates well with ALF’s long-time role as the nation’s leading advocate for reliance on sound science by all three branches of the federal government.
Mr. Rich was enthusiastically introduced by internationally renowned mediator/special master, Kenneth R. Feinberg, a RAND Trustee, who was introduced by his friend and ALF Director, Joe G. Hollingsworth, Founding Partner of Hollingsworth LLP and a nationally famous litigator in his own right.
Dr. Sowell was extolled at the dinner by his biographer, Jason L. Riley of Wall Street Journal and Manhattan Institute acclaim. Mr. Riley presented, and embellished with engaging remarks, his own short video biopic of Dr. Sowell, and then accepted the award for Dr. Sowell, who given his advanced age, was not disposed to travel to the event. Attendees received hardcover copies of Mr. Riley’s biography of Dr. Sowell, Maverick, which reflects the story of Dr. Sowell’s life from poverty to recognition as one of the most prolific authors, respected economists, teachers ,and independent men of wisdom in our time. As Mr. Fisk opined, Dr. Sowell is likely the most respected and celebrated Black American academician over the past century.
ALF Director Jonathan P. Graham, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Amgen, Inc., served as Chairman of the Awards Dinner, which was attended by more than 120 ALF supporters and their guests.
The gourmet dinner was preceded by a delightful reception in the Jonathan Club’s Florentine Lounge, with fine hors d’oeuvres, premium beverages, and a movie-quality performance by the Leatherbarrow Jazz Trio. It was a memorable evening, and especially satisfying as a long-awaited in-person event. Michael Rich’s and Jason Riley’s remarks will be republished in ALFs 2022 Annual Report, to be released in the Spring of 2023.
ALF’s leadership team met for a productive Board of Directors/Advisory Council meeting the next morning at the nearby offices of the Buchalter law firm, graciously hosted by ALF Directors and Buchalter partners, Sean Casey and Lee C.H. Cheng. Although a number of ALF Directors, along with ALF Executive Vice President & General Counsel Lawrence S. Ebner, and ALF Executive Assistant Tee Cirillo, made the trip from the East Coast for the dinner and meeting, some participated by Zoom. Unfortunately, two key Directors who reside in Naples, Florida, were grounded because of Hurricane Ian’s forced closure of local airports.
We thank all who supported ALF’s 2022 Annual Awards Dinner.